Nurses were overwhelmed and underpaid long before the status quo-vaporizing scourge that was COVID-19. Yet now, in what may be the pandemic’s final months — please note the use of the conditional “may” — they remain as under siege as they were in March 2020.

Of the many underappreciated problems facing the country’s healthcare system, this may be the most vexing, if only because there’s no easy fix. Pay nurses more? Offer them a wider range of mental health and wellness resources? Sure, everybody’s in favor of such accommodations — but who’s gonna pick up the tab?

Nurses are as much a public resource as police officers and firefighters and teachers. They are telling us that they are burned out and need more support. We’re not listening.

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